Hang out with cannabis smokers without smoking? Criminal and health risks: “It’s unfair!”, criticizes Infor-Drogues

Hang out with cannabis smokers without smoking? Criminal and health risks: “It’s unfair!”, criticizes Infor-Drogues
Hang out with cannabis smokers without smoking? Criminal and health risks: “It’s unfair!”, criticizes Infor-Drogues

Stroll down a city street and be invaded by smoke or the smell of cannabis. Finding yourself in a room or in a car without smoking but with consumers. There is drug use… although it is passive.

The smoke exhaled then inhaled, called secondary, comes from the combustion of hemp. The passive smoker is then exposed to a concentration of cannabinoid”, explains Jan Tytgat, toxicologist at UC Louvain. Especially since the smoker’s body only absorbs 25-30%. “Traces of it remain in blood, urine, saliva and hair. The degree of exposure to THC then depends on several scenarios. Outdoors ? In an enclosed area? Not ventilated? ? How long ? How many active smokers? Do they smoke multiple joints?

From there to being under influence? “There is certainly a study by the Society of Health Testing which has put forward rates below which there is no control. But the results are not legally binding. They may still be contradicted by other studies.”

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For passive consumers, the criminal risks are there. And Infor-Drogues deplores it: “Tests are currently used by law enforcement and a positive result can be misinterpreted as formal proof of consumption”, explains spokesperson Antoine Boucher. “Non-consumers therefore risk being convicted by the courts or having to pay a fine or being fired from their job or being excluded from their school, etc. even though they did not smoke cannabis. This is obviously totally unfair!”Infor-Drogues calls for much more solid legal certainty based only on the actual possession of a real quantity of cannabis. “Which would be, incidentally, much more in line with the law which does not punish use but rather possession.

What are the scenarios?

Firstly when a passive consumer gets behind the wheel after spending time with “active” people or having taken them in his car and gets checked. Certainly, as with alcohol, there is a tolerance: when driving, anyone whose “crash test” results (saliva) exceed 10 nanograms per milliliter of saliva is considered positive. “But this threshold is very low”, contests Antoine Boucher. “It is just linked to the expertise of the tester and its error level.

That said, to exceed this threshold, special circumstances are still required: “The passive consumer must have found himself for a long time in an enclosed place, without ventilation, with several smokers who are not satisfied with a single joint.”, assesses Isabelle Renaud-Muylkens, pharmacist toxicologist. “It is also necessary that the control while driving be carried out a maximum of three hours after leaving the smokers.

After a positive crash test, if the driver refuses a second opinion during the check, his saliva is sent to a lab for analysis and there, 30% is subtracted from the results.

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“If the results of regular analyzes indicate traces, the person may say that he was only passive, he will not be able to prove it”

The risks of suffering the wrath of the law do not stop there. “Let us mention the cases of conditional releases, alternative, probationary sentences, granted on the condition of no longer using. If the results of regular analyzes indicate traces, the person may say that he was only passive, he will not be able to prove it”, points out Antoine Boucher. “But traces can remain for two or three weeks.”

And what are the health risks of passive consumption? “A study was carried out in 2017”, introduces Michael Hogge, project manager at Eurotox. “Six smokers and one non-smoker in an enclosed area measuring 3 by 4 meters and 2.10 meters high, without ventilation. The non-user had red eyes and an altered heart rate. He had psychomotor problems. And psychologically, he felt effects on his state of consciousness. It all depends of course on the age, sex or even weight of the passive person. In the open air, on the other hand, it poses no risk.” Infor-Drogues also mentions symptoms such as nausea, tachycardia and conjunctivitis

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